Taiwan – Taipei

Finally we started our journey to Taiwan today, with a few implications to do with someones card going astray and an hour or so delay with our flight, we were standing in line ready to get onto the plane to takes us away for four months. At this point whatever hadn’t been organized or packed didn’t matter anymore.
Our plane flys into Singapore after a rough six hour flight with me wedged between brad (who didn’t take up much room) and a very friendly but very large gold coast guy, who could have come straight from the set of Jersey Shore with muscles bulging and a real bogan accent. Our talkative friend was off to Thailand for a mates wedding what more needs to be said! We get off at Singapore airport and have another 5 1/2 hour stop. Usually I wouldn’t be that interested in the typical airport shops and things to do but I have to say Singapore airport is something else. from free leg massages, sleep rooms, rooftop bar and their very own butterfly garden it helped make the stop go quick.
The next flight was a lot more comfortable getting the window seats and noone else to worry about. Another six hours brought us into Taipei. Then straight through customs and on the bus for another hour and we were dropped in Taipei middle station. It was a warm 27 degrees at about 7:40 at night which was refreshing after being in aircondition for the last day. After figuring out the MRT tram system we were in Zhongshan one stop from the heart of Taipei and a few minutes walk from our hostel. Walking down an alley we see the Taiwanmex hostel sign swinging on a gate, leading down another alley that was becoming increasingly dirty. We see the doorway of a very broken down building and a flight of narrow poorly lit stairs going up into an apartment. We arrive upstairs and have a feeling the Internet photo was slightly deceiving, after our host finished cooking his dinner he searched for our named shaking his head ‘no, no Taiwanmex 1, you go to Taiwanmex 2′. So with some relief we had gone to the wrong hostel, fingers crossed the next is better. With the advice to look for a Taiwan/Mexican guy we are back on the street heading in the direction of the ‘family mart’ a man waves us down and hurries us into his apartment block. When we get inside the apartment we see our modest room with a double bed and ensuite in what looks like this guys personal apartment. Next money to pay upfront, thinking we were staying in an actual hostel (not someone’s apartment) we planned on using our card. This not being the case back out on the street to try and find a bank (this probably sounds easier than it is). We find a bank and both our cards decline (we later on realize some banks just don’t work for some reason or another)so in a bit of a panic knowing we couldn’t return to the apartment with no money as not only do we not speak Chinese to communicate what had happened, our new host was a bit on the intimidating side. We needed to find a cyber cafe fast and figure out what the hell was going on! After asking a few people in shops for Internet we had been sent about two blocks down, we decided to ask again in the family mart and someone’s ears pricked up that speaks English. His name was Billy and after trying to explain to us where the internet was decided to come with us instead. Cracking open a beer, lighting a cigarette and insisting brad has one of his cigarettes not his own we were off again. What he said was a 7 minute walk ended up about three more blocks away on the way Billy was eager to chat and told us he originated from Burma but lives here now and that he was actually just on his way to a friends party. We get to the cyber cafe and Billy being the good friend seats us, turns our computer on and makes sure we know how to use it. Once he was certain we did he insisted in paying for our Internet time saying we were his friend now, we said goodbye and then he was off.
We check we have money in our account and go to another bank, finally with the money in our hands could see the end of all this fuss. After paying for our room, a refreshing shower and a change of clothes we hit the street again in search of food. Finding a Japanese buffet all you can’t eat salads, beer and ice cream with a large shabu shabu style pot on our table with meats of our choice we finally felt relaxed and also very tired. We didn’t last long the first night and I had the best sleep I have had in months.

2 thoughts on “Taiwan – Taipei

  1. looove this story! So you!! Singapore airport is amazing, it makes those long stays a little more bearable! Did you go and hang out with the butterflys and the sunflowers in the sunflower garden!?
    I hope you have an amazing timexx

    • Rini, so good to hear from you and thanks for all the comments. I’m starting to get used to the iced tea thing it’s still a bit weird getting chewy balls in your drink but I’m getting there.
      We went to the butterfly garden in singapore is that the same thing.? That airport is ridiculous but very entertaining.
      I saw a photo on instagram of you and Amy are you already in Brisbane?

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